Team USA continued their sizzling 2010 FIBA World Championship start as they blew by Slovenia for a 99-77 win on Sunday. Kevin Durant led the team with 22 points, while big man Kevin Love continued his impressive and efficient play with 10 points and 11 rebounds in just 13 minutes. Rudy Gay also had a hot hand, netting 16 points of his own, including three-of-six from downtown.
Leading the way for Slovenia was former NBA player Bostjan Nachbar, who scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds. Next up for Team USA is Leandro Barbosa and the squad from Brazil. The game airs today at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Check out some footwear from yesterday’s contest between Team USA and Slovenia.
Andre Iguodala takes flight in the Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Chauncey Billups drives against Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns. Billups is wearing the adidas Lightning Creator, while Dragic laced up the “Draft Day” Nike Zoom Kobe V.
Danny Granger, wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse, and Tyson Chandler, wearing the Nike Zoom Soldier III, do double duty on Slovenia’s Hasan Rizvic.
Derrick Rose takes a jump shot in his adidas adiZero sneaker.
Eric Gordon goes to the hole strong in the upcoming adidas adiZero Infiltrate.
Kevin Love drives to the hoop in the Nike Huarache 2010.
Lamar Odom tries to seal off Slovenia’s Gasper Vidmar, both wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
Rudy Gay had a hot hand, seen here shooting a three-pointer in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
Russell Westbrook, wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse, drives strong as Goran Jagodnik, wearing the Jordan CP3.III, looks on.
images via USA Basketball
After one quarter of play in Saturday’s FIBA opener between the United States and Croatia, the Americans held on to just a 22-20 lead. That uneasy feeling of disappointing FIBA performances past started to surface. However, before those feelings could linger, the second quarter happened. Sparked by a 26-6 run in the second frame, Team USA coasted to a 106-78 victory.
The American men blew the game open in the second quarter when a Kevin Durant three-point play started a 12-0 run that pushed the lead to 14 points. Sharpshooter Eric Gordon caught fire, knocking down consecutive triples, while forward Rudy Gay added a three of his own and a free throw to give the United States a 48-26 lead at the half. The U.S. run wasn’t all about offense, as they harassed the Croatian team into 3-of-17 shooting for the quarter, including 0-for-6 from three-point territory. The second quarter run set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Croatia came out a little more efficient in the third quarter, but was overwhelmed by an American offense that realized the game was in the bag. Team USA added another 30 points, including five points each from Billups, Durant and Andre Iguodala. Croatia held a 30-28 scoring advantage in the final period, but the Americans were in full cruise-control mode at that point.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski was able to play all 12 of his guys, giving the starters plenty of rest for the upcoming schedule. Each player on the roster was able to log at least 10 minutes and score in the process. Gordon led the team with 16 points in 22 minutes, while Durant scored 14 points of his own. Big man Kevin Love added seven points and 10 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action.
There is still a lot of basketball left to be played for Team USA, but they have to be pleased with this start. While they were favored to handle the Croatians, the early dominance was somewhat unexpected. As several members of the coaching staff and team stated, they have to maintain that second-quarter level of intensity throughout the tournament if they want to bring the FIBA Gold Medal back to the United States.
Play will resume today at 9:30 a.m. EST against Slovenia.
Next month, the best basketball teams from around the world with gather in Turkey for the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship. Winning the gold medal in the FIBA tournament is considered to be as prestigious as taking home gold in the Olympics. Team USA looks to follow up on their Olympic success from Beijing in 2008 by bringing the FIBA title back home. The 2006 tournament was won by Spain, and no players from the 2008 US team are expected to make the trip to Turkey, so the selected group will have their hands full.
Preparing the team is National Director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo and Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The same tandem oversaw the “Redeem Team” in Beijing. Can they double-up in Turkey? Look at the pictures below to see how they’re gearing up for the task.
Also, notice that several players are wearing a Team USA colorway of the already-popular Nike Zoom Hyperfuse. You can pre-order a pair on Eastbay now.
Nets center Brook Lopez goes up strong wearing the upcoming adidas TS Heat Check.
One of the seniors on the team, floor general Chauncey Billups still wearing the adidas Lightning Creator.
Budding star point guard Derrick Rose dishes off while wearing the upcoming adidas adiZero Creator.
Director Jerry Colangelo oversees his creation in the Air Max 2009.
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love doing some pre-practice stretching in the Nike Huarache 2010.
O.J. Mayo one of several Team USA players testing out the new Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
The man responsible for the popularity of the Zoom Hyperfuse, Rajon Rondo, sizes up the competition.
Team USA newcomers Rudy Gay, Javale McGee, and Jeff Green all in fresh pairs of the Zoom Hyperfuse.
Rookie sensation Stephen Curry breaks out the Nike Hyperdunk 2010, while Coach K gives directions in the Air Max 360 II.
2009-2010 NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans loosens up in the Hyperdunk 2010.
Center Tyson Chandler felt the need to ice his feet after a session in the Nike Zoom Soldier III.
images via USA Basketball